Drivers with unpaid parking tickets in St. Louis may soon be able to put them on a payment plan.
The St. Louis Treasurer's Office announced Thursday that it will allow people with outstanding parking fees and fines to pay their tickets over time next year.
Treasurer Tishaura Jones wants to allow drivers to pay their fines without having to worry that their cars will be towed.
“I hope this provides some relief for people who have accumulated a high balance of tickets,” Jones said. “I don't want anybody to lose their car just because of a parking ticket or they're just making a couple of mistakes.”
The plan was partially inspired by the Ferguson Commission report, which recommended alternatives to jail time and fines, she said. Drivers will still have to make monthly payments on time to avoid consequences, including having their vehicles towed.
Jones said her office will introduce the payment plans next year after updating software on office computers. She said her office is still working on the details, but she doesn’t want the plans to add burdens for drivers.
“Just like with any other bill collector, just stay in contact with us,” she said. “We don’t want to be predatory, we want to be sensitive to the needs of the community.”
Jones said parking payment plans have helped officials in San Francisco and Chicago reduce the weight that fines can have on people.
She said her office will apply for a grant from the San Francisco Financial Justice Project to study how fines and fees impact low-income residents and people of color.
“I would love to see a comprehensive review and see what we're collecting and what we're not collecting,” Jones said. “If we're not collecting it, why are we even charging it?”
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